SINGAPORE – The Asian tsunami has been a major disaster. The Catholic Church in Singapore has responded by collecting donations in the weekend following the event, and conducting services in remembrance of the victims including Masses in all parishes on January 14

Archbishop Nicholas Chia has also appointed an Archdiocesan Crisis Coordination Team (ACCT) to further define and coordinate the response of the church in Singapore to the crisis.

“The overwhelming support of Catholics and Singaporeans to the crisis has been moving,” said Mgr Eugene Vaz, the spiritual director for ACCT.

“Our aim at ACCT is to ensure a sustained and coordinated response to this enormous human tragedy by the Catholic Church in Singapore,” he explained.

The other members of ACCT comprise a few priests and primarily lay professionals who will use their expertise to help out with the financial and missionary aspects of the work.

ACCT will have three subcommittees focusing on the three key thrusts: grants, volunteers and missions, and protocols and communications.

In a January 21 statement to CatholicNews, ACCT said that they seek to make the response to the tsunami disaster a coordinated and sustained effort. The statement also said that there are more volunteering opportunities in the horizon than there are now and although ACCT are not collecting any more money now, donors should feel free to continue to give.

“We may collect more in the future depending upon the programs and needs,” ACCT said.

Below, we publish the rest of the ACCT statement.

On volunteers

“Several Catholics have volunteered their services to directly help out on the ground with the victims of the Tsunami. This is commendable and we encourage it.

However, the opportunities in the current phase of the relief effort are limited mainly to personnel with medical and other specialist skills that can help out with the infrastructure rebuilding. This is also the situation with non-church volunteer groups.

There will be a greater need and opportunities to help out with the victims directly during the reconstruction phase. ACCT will be looking at coordinating programs that can meaningfully help the victims in Indonesia and Sri Lanka rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the earthquake and tidal wave.

In the meantime, Catholics who have an interest in volunteering can register with the specific church groups that are undertaking relief efforts, or with the ACCT Secretariat ([email protected]). We will match such volunteers to the specific church groups that might be interested.

In addition, volunteers can consider registering their interest with the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (www.nvpc.org.sg) where broader opportunities beyond the programs organized by the church would be available.”

On donations

“The generosity of Catholics in Singapore is shown in the S$1.3 million collected to date, mainly in the collection of January 1 and 2.

ACCT will be identifying and disbursing the funds collected to the appropriate efforts and programs in aid of the tsunami victims. There will be transparency and accountability on the use of the funds. The money will be used exclusively in aid of the tsunami victims. Outreach of the funds used will be non-religious and non-political.

Any church groups who wish to request any portion of the funds for its programs to aid the tsunami victims can apply to ACCT through its secretariat ([email protected]). Such requests will be processed in accordance with the criteria set up by ACCT.

There has been no active fund-raising by the church for the tsunami crisis since the first and only island wide collection. No more is planned at this time. As the programs are identified and funded, there may be a need for further fund raising later.

In the meantime, those who wish to continue to donate to the tsunami crisis can do so by writing a crossed cheque payable to “The Titular R C Archbishop of Singapore ” with the words “For Tsunami victims” on the back of the cheque. These cheques can be given to the priests of your parish.”

“Our hearts go out to tsunami victims

OUR HEARTS go out to all our brothers and sisters who were the victims of the recent tsunami disaster in all affected countries. Catholic Welfare Services, as an affiliate of Caritas Internationalis (a worldwide confederation of Catholic charities), will work hand in hand with Caritas to see how best we can provide assistance within our context as a local Singapore charity. With its large network, Caritas Internationalis has the expertise and the infrastructure to ensure that direct assistance will be provided to the victims of the disaster.

As an immediate response, one of our projects, the Marine Parade Family Service Centre initiated collection of food, clothing and medical-aid items. In addition, St. Joseph’s Home was able to donate medicines, wound-dressings and antiseptics which were submitted to the Assisi Home and Mount Alvernia Hospital in their efforts to assist the tsunami victims.

In solidarity with the Archdiocese of Singapore, Catholic Welfare Services will make a contribution of $100,000 in aid of tsunami victims. This amount represents donations during the course of the year, from generous donors who have chosen to remain anonymous or who did not wish to have a tax-exempt receipt for their donations. As a local registered charity, Catholic Welfare Services may not remit overseas any funds for which tax-exempt receipts had been issued.

Catholic Welfare Services is ever-mindful of the sufferings of our brothers and sisters affected by the recent tsunami. We realize that the effects will be long-term and we will do what we can to work with Caritas Internationalis in coming to their aid.

Bro. Emmanuel

Archdiocesan Crisis Coordination Team (ACCT) Members
Mgr Eugene Vaz (Spiritual Director)
Father Patrick Goh
Father Colin Tan
Father Charles Sim (Chair, Volunteers & Mission Committee)
Father John-Paul Tan (Chair, Protocols & Communications Committee)
J Y Pillay  (Chair, Grants Committee)
Dr. Lim Cheok Peng
Frank Wong
Margaret Lien
Helen Yeo
BG Bernard Tan
Dr. John Lee
Vivian Liu
George Lim  (Deputy Convener)
Willie Cheng (Convener)
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